10 Track – 4th January
Session 10 for the track racing season provided good conditions for racing. The evening was warm with a stiff headwind in the back straight. Attendance was nineteen riders with a big roll up in A grade.
The 10-lap A grade scratch race started at a solid pace. The pack held together for six laps before Michael Langdon ventured off the front. Ben Robey initially went with Michael, then decided it might be more comfortable in the pack. The bunch wisely left Michael hanging off the front and slowly closed the gap. Michael was caught a few laps from the finish. However, his enterprise was undiminished. As the bell lap approached, Michael took off with Paul Connor and Alec Millett hot on his heels. Paul Managed to come round in the final sprint, so the finish order was Paul Connor, Michael Langdon and Alec Millett. Peta Brill and John Paul De Sousa rode well to pick up fourth and fifth places respectively.
In B grade, the bunch held together for six laps at a good pace. Paul Robey dropped of at this point, followed, a lap later, by Graeme O’Neill. The remaining bunch cranked up the pace and held together for the final laps. The bell lap was torrid, with a final sprint taken by Steve Hirsler, Tony Beasley and Phil Anderson, in that order.
The second event of the evening was a 2-lap handicap race. The A grade race was hotly contested. However, Peta Brill sensed that she had a good handicap and made the most of it by streaming out of the pack to gain and hold an unbeatable lead. Alec Millett and John Paul De Sousa rode well from the back half of the pack to take second and third places. The limit markers, Michael Langdon and Paul Connor struggled to catch the pack and had to settle for mid-field finishes.
In B grade, Paul Robey surprised the field with better than expected form. Paul made the most of a good handicap and led throughout the race. Phil Anderson, Steve Hirsler and Dougal Torrence overcame the second rider in the final turn and took second to fourth places respectively.
The third event of the evening was a 12-lap snowball points race. There were three sprints for points with the points allocated for each sprint increasing as the race progressed. In A grade, Martin Graham decided to capture early points and streamed from the pack on lap 3. Martin took the first sprint and held a good lead for several further laps. However, with Michael Langdon, Alec Millett and Paul Connor driving the pack towards the second sprint, Martin was out of luck. The lead trio finished the second sprint in that order. The pack was loosely bunched for the final laps. It consolidated as riders jockeyed for a good position into the bell lap. The final sprint was hotly contested, with Michael Langdon holding of Paul Connor and Alec Millett in that order. The final points were Michael Langdon (9), Alec Millett (8), Paul Connor (7) and Martin Graham (3).
In B grade, Steve Hirsler bounded out to take the first sprint from Tony Beasley and Phil Anderson. As the race progressed, Tony Beasley and Ross Scutts dominated the remaining sprints. The final points were Tony Beasley (10), Ross Scutts & Steve Hirsler (8 each), Dougal Torrance (3).
The final event was an all-in Italian Pursuit. There were seven pursuit riders on each team. The pursuit was, as usual, an extremely close contest. Team 1 got off to a good start and gained a few metres initially. However, the gap soon closed with both teams being near equal as the laps ticked off. In the end, it came down to a contest between the anchor riders Alec Millett and Paul Connor. Alec dug deep on the final lap and managed to find a burst of energy from somewhere. Paul could not match this form and had to concede the win to Team 2. It was a great contest by both teams.
Major place getters were as follows:
10-Lap Scratch: (A Grade): Paul Connor, Michael Langdon, Alec Millett (B Grade) Steve Hirsler, Tony Beasley, Phil Anderson.
2-Lap Handicap: (A Grade): Peta Brill, Alec Millett, John Paul De Sousa (B Grade) Paul Robey, Phil Anderson, Steve Hirsler.
12-Lap Showball: (A Grade): Michael Langdon (9), Alec Millett (8), Paul Connor (7) (B Grade) Tony Beasley (10), Ross Scutts & Steve Hirsler (8), Dougal Torrance (3)
Combined Italian Pursuit: Winner Team 2 (Alec Millett, Martin Graham, Dominic Rideaux, John Paul De Sousa, Ed Garnett, Ross Scutts, Phil Anderson).
Current Points Score Leaders: Michael Langdon (171), Steve Jones (166), Phil Anderson (159), Ross Scutts (158), Alec Millett (151), Steve Hirsler (115), Kerry Knowler (110), Ben Robey & Tony Beasley (107).